In the past, Demi Burnett has not hesitated to let fans know that she is not okay.
She did as much in January, when she told followers that she was going to see a psychiatrist.
Now, Demi has big news about herself that she hopes can inspire and educate fans.
Demi is on the autistic spectrum.
Demi Burnett took to her Instagram to share the news of her diagnosis.
“MAYBE A TRIGGER WARNING I DONT KNOW BUT HEADS UP,” she began her caption, just to be safe.
Demi shared: “I did a psychological evaluation and I’m autistic.”
“There is a huge stigma when it comes to autism,” Demi acknowledged.
“I encourage you to be open minded and accepting,” she implored her fans and followers.
“Swipe for some ‘memes’ that might be helpful when dealing with an autistic person,” Demi advised.
“All I want is to have a better quality of life,” Demi expressed, adding a red heart emoji.
“I will share more on my story of my evaluation and how I got to this point,” she promised.
“And,” Demi added, “all of my pain and struggles along the way.”
“I want to make sure anyone who is/was feeling like me can know you really aren’t alone,” Demi wrote.
“It can get better!” she encouraged.
Demi concluded: “And most importantly it isn’t your fault.”
It is not uncommon for adults to learn for the first time, either through informed introspection or through a professional diagnosis, that they are on the spectrum.
Autism is underdiagnosed, in part because the standards by which it was detected were once extremely limited.
In other words, if you come by all of your diagnostic data by observing men, women can easily be overlooked.
This is not the result of “fundamental” differences in brain by sex or gender, but by socialization.
By some societal gender standards, women are rewarded for behaviors associated with some parts of the autistic spectrum, while men with those same behaviors are more likely to be noticed.
For Demi to be diagnosed at 27 may seem late to some, but others are not diagnosed until years later — if at all.
For decades, the autistic community has not been represented as they deserve.
Instead, a lot of public awareness surrounding autism has been dominated by neurotypicals who seem to consider proximity to autistic people to be a burden.
When dubious organizations air commercials about how there are “more and more” autistic people, they’re talking to neurotypical parents — not the actual community.
While social media has its drawbacks, there has been a huge upswell in autistic community-building as people share their experiences online.
To get personal for a moment, some of my closest friends are on the spectrum. A few have even found out since I met them.
Like Demi, many autistics had no idea how different their experiences were than those of most people around them. Finally, they understood.
Autism diagnoses in adults can help people to better explain themselves to neurotypical friends and family.
There can be drawbacks to a formal diagnosis (did you know that people with disabilities are discriminated against when it comes to receiving organ transplants?), but many find them helpful.
Given the vicious history of ableism in the psychiatric community and economic realities, many autistic folks have relied upon self diagnosis — often with the help of autistic friends.
We would like to congratulate Demi on joining the autistic community.
It is also heartwarming to see that she is already using helpful graphics and things written from the lived experiences of autistic folks.
Knowing that you are part of a larger group and are not alone can have a powerful effect upon your mental and emotional health.